Plane Trees, and why I like them….

Around our Marion County Court House is a ring of beautiful old plane trees.  They were planted in 1932 as part of a project planned by Salem landscape architect Elizabeth Lord, and funded by the Salem Garden Club.  Our court house in those days was a lovely building from the 1880’s, and in an aerial view taken about 1950, it looked like this:

Not long after this photo was taken the building was torn down and replaced with a Pietro Belluschi building, a kind of grim version of the international style.  Happily though, the plane trees have remained.  Just shy of 80 years old, they are well cared for and just delight us with every trip by them:

Today I learned that not only were the plane trees planted in 1932, but two grandiflora magnolias were planted after being purchased for $10 by “The Women Veterans Society,”  so I raced down for a photo:

Lord, one half of the design team Lord & Schryver, was the daughter of  Oregon governor William Lord and  master gardener Juliette Lord.  Lord was particularly interested in civic projects and was responsible for many of our best public garden spaces, as well as the beautiful residential work for which Lord & Schryver have become justly well known.  Elisabeth Potter told me years ago that “windows are the most character-defining parts of a building” (partly responsible for my abhorrence of the routine “fenestration disasters” around here…) and I would add that street trees are an  important “character-defining” part of any town’s planted environment.  Go take a look at these beauties.

1 Comment

  1. This is great information! I have often passed these trees and wondered what was the story behind them. Thank you so much!

    Will you write more notes about these other, more incidental, plantings and design work of L&S that is not framed or otherwise called out by a formal garden?! That would be great detail to enliven walks around the city!

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